The year 2020 has not been easy for anyone, with Covid-19 impacting everyone around the world.
While the Cambodian economy has seen significant losses due to the pandemic, the Royal Government of Cambodia’s excellent handling of the situation has prevented a major outbreak in the Kingdom.
The country’s banking sector under the regulatory guidance of the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) has also been able to protect institutions as well as individual borrowers.
With the guidance of the NBC – such as with the circular on loan restructuring as well as the relaxing of certain capital rationing – the performance of the sector has remained steady, and industries that have been particularly hit by the pandemic have so far been kept safe from looming debt and the collection thereof.
The Association of Banks in Cambodia (ABC) has also not been restless in the past year.
While many events had to be cancelled to protect the community, some memorable ones were carried out safely, with many knowledge building workshops conducted digitally.
As the chairman of the association, I am proud to say that we have enlarged our scope in the financial sector and now also count microfinance deposit-taking institutions, the Cambodia Microfinance Association and the Cambodia Association of Financial and Technology as members.
The ABC consequently covers nearly all of the financial sector in Cambodia and has established itself as the largest platform for all finance professionals in the Kingdom to exchange ideas and knowledge, and to drive the development of the entire sector.
Further developments in the digital arena have also taken place. Technology has proven itself to be an invaluable tool in helping us operate in a more financially inclusive environment in which people have access to a broad range of formal financial services anywhere and at any time.
With the Bakong inter-bank platform, the Cambodian Shared Switch (CSS) mechanism and the Retail Pay System, the NBC has showcased that as well as being a reliable regulator, it is also at the heart of Cambodian innovation and development.
Bakong enables customers to make mutual fund transfers and payments not only within Cambodia, but the whole of the region.
On behalf of the Association of Banks in Cambodia, I am truly thankful for the strong leadership and bridge-building efforts of the NBC, which are paving the way for Cambodia’s banking and financial sector to enter a new digital era to boost the Kingdom’s economy and ensure readiness for the regional integration of Asean.
All in all, 2020 has been a difficult year for everyone, but I am confident that with the efforts of all parties involved in the economy over the past year, Cambodia – and in particular our banking sector – will emerge into the new year stronger, more advanced, more resilient and wiser.
While hard times have been endured, we continue to grow as individuals, as well as a sector and as a country.
Last but not least, I wish everyone – our authorities, our members, our customers – and their beloved families, a prosperous new year, lots of joy, happiness, good health, and indeed wealth.
Dr In Channy, the chairman of the Association of Banks in Cambodia